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Chinese Rule of Law Conference: “A Smashing Success”

June 8, 2011

Chinese Rule of Law Conference: “A Smashing Success”
Chinese Rule of Law Conference: “A Smashing Success”

Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s joint international conference on “Chinese Rule of Law” with the Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law brought together legal scholars, practitioners and law students from several countries on Friday, May 27, in Hangzhou, China.  The conference, presented by TJSL’s Center for Global Studies and the China Rule of Law Research Institute at Zhejiang University, took place during the first week of TJSL’s fifth annual Summer Study Abroad Program at the Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law.

Dean Rudy Hasl joined Luo Weidong, Vice President of Zhejiang University and Dean of its School of Law, in presenting opening remarks at the conference.  Dean Hasl  is extremely pleased with the success of the conference and what it means for TJSL.

“According to our Chinese colleagues, there is no issue more important in China today than the implementation of the Rule of Law,” noted Dean Hasl. “This conference brought TJSL faculty into a meaningful dialogue with academics from around the globe.”

“It also has helped to solidify the relationship between the School of Law and the Zhejiang University Faculty of Law. Publication of the proceedings in our Law Review will create even more visibility for the participants.”

The purpose of the conference was to examine the extent to which the rule of law in China applies to commercial transactions and other areas such as crime, corruption, tortious acts, intellectual property, economic development, international trade, law firm practice and the protection of human rights.    Adherence to the principle of “rule of law” requires individuals and governments to be regulated by a legal system in which rules are clear and effectively enforced.

“The conference was a smashing success and very Chinese in style – ceremony, celebration, gifts – and high level scholarly presentations,” said Professor Susan Tiefenbrun, Conference Co-Director and Director of TJSL’s Center for Global Legal Studies and International Law Study abroad Program.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Professor Qian Hongdao to make this Conference on the Rule of Law in China a success.”

The conference keynote speaker was Javade Chaudhri, the executive vice president, general counsel and chief environmental officer for Sempra Energy.  For the conference, Chaudhri addressed “Chinese Industrial Policies:  Indigenous Innovation, Intellectual Property Rights and the Trade Issues of the Next Decade.” Prior to working for Sempra, Chaudhri served as general counsel of technology giant Gateway, Inc., and also as a senior partner in the Washington, D.C., firm of Winston & Strawn and as a partner at the international firm of Jones Day.  During his career, he has assisted major corporations and public-sector entities to structure and negotiate a broad range of business transactions and to implement projects and contracts in Asia, especially in China.  

Several TJSL professors participated in the conference as moderators and panel presenters.   Their topics included:  “The Rule of Law and its Abuses:  Lawfare” (Professor Tiefenbrun); “The Attorney-Client Privilege in China and the Development of the Rule of Law” (Professor Leah Christensen); “U.S. Criminal Law: What Components are Essential to the Rule of Law?” (Professor Alex Kreit); and “Political Economy and the Rule of Law” (Professor Ben Templin) and “The Rule of Law and China’s Economic Development” (Professor Claire Wright). 

Other panelists included Professors of Law from Zhejiang University, Quinnipiac University, University of Saint Joseph, Macau SAR, St. Mary’s University and Johns Hopkins/SAIS Campus Nanjing Center as well as well as an attorney from the Allbright Law Offices in Shanghai.

Eighty-nine American law students from TJSL and 32 Chinese students from Guanghua School of Law signed up for this year’s three-week China Summer Study Program presented by TJSL’s Center for Global Legal Studies, which began on May 22.  The students were invited to attend the Conference on Chinese Rule of Law as part of the many educational and networking opportunities available through the popular TJSL study abroad program.